The Most Important Steps to Radical Self-Confidence

Self-confidence is a skill all of us can cultivate and it’s not as difficult as you may think. By Irene Abbou

Ever notice how the dream-achieving goddesses show up with this irresistible larger than life “je ne sais pas quoi” aura? Do you ever wonder where they learned to command not only everybody else’s attention, but yours as well?

Does someone else’s success lead to a bit of frustration when their education and skills don’t compare to yours, but they are killing it in a field that you are most passionate about? I’ve been there and it’s a difficult chair to be sitting in. But more importantly, are you interested in knowing why this scenario happens so often and what you can do to have it work in your favor?

Through the research of Claire Shipman and Katty Kay authors of The Confidence Code, success is connected more closely with confidence than competence. The evidence shows that when it comes to getting ahead, confidence is more important than ability.

You’re probably asking yourself well since self-confidence is fundamental to our success, how do we get more of it?

Let’s begin with some great news, which is, confidence is a skill all of us can cultivate. The only pre-requisite to joining this elite club, is a willingness to try and a readiness to view the discomfort of failure as the most important stepping stone.

All of this ties back to what I like to call the perfectionist versus the risk-taker. The risk-taker knows that the only thing she truly risks by taking action is an emotion. She also acknowledges that the cost of inaction will perpetuate the negative story she tells herself of who she is. To reach dream-achieving confidence, we must BE the type of person who does what is necessary to acquire these characteristics. The trick is to begin to think, feel and act like your confident future self. Take actions before being certain that these are the actions that will lead to success and accept failure.

I’ll even go as far as to say SEEK FAILURE as the more failures you get, the closer you will be to succeeding and reaching radical self-confidence.

Think of it this way, would you tell your 2yr old niece who’s trying to walk but continuously falls on her cute little butt, “you know… maybe you’re not cut out for this walking thing?” Of course not! You would encourage her to keep trying until she walks!


Tim Ferris bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek wrote: If you telescope out ten years and know with 100% certainty that it is a path of disappointment and regret and define risk as “the likelihood of an irreversible negative outcome,” inaction is the most significant risk of all.” The risk-taker understands that the more she takes action and fails, the more she masters her skills, and with mastery comes greater self-confidence! And guess what? The more confident we become, the more action we take and the bigger our accomplishments.

Here are the foolproof steps to build radical self-confidence:

1.    Willingness to try

2.    Take Action

3.    Fail

4.    Adjust

5.    Repeat

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost more than 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed” ~Michael Jordan

May we all wake up each morning with the willingness to try, get in that ring and consistently fail forward to our most confident, playful version of ourselves.

Irene is the creator of the Happiness Within Reach program which coaches ambitious women to open their hearts to self-love while forming deep and meaningful interpersonal relationships with others. She is an ICF, ACC Certified life and business coach who holds two certifications from the University of Pennsylvania on Positive Psychology and is trained in the Gottman Method for Couples Therapy. This integrates forty years of scientific research, based on the Sound Relationship House Theory. Irene has helped hundreds of women get reacquainted with their hearts most affirming personal and professional desires and supports them to take action despite their fears. Her mission is to remind women of their indisputable worthiness and capability of creating the extraordinary soul on fire life that is their birthright.

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Written by: Irene Abbou

Photograph by: Ben White

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born” Anais Nin

When I think about some the happiest times in my life, the moments where I felt the most a part of, belonging to a special tribe of sisterly love, where I could unapologetically be my introverted donut dreaming self, I think of moments shared with my soul sisters.


To clearly define these sisters and sometimes it was just a sister, it would be the friend I call at 8:15am when my 10 year old has me unraveling because he angrily slammed the door at carpool without saying good-bye but also the friend I reach out to when a Starbucks stranger boosts my confidence with a simple hello.


I was inspired to write this article because many of the women I have been blessed to interact with in my line of work have expressed a desire to expand their circle of friends and experience closer bonds. Although the dynamics of true friendships are complex, social researchers have been able to narrow down some key ingredients necessary to forge these meaningful mysterious connections. I will share with you some of these findings as well as other reliable tips on growing your friendship circle.


Be Approachable


Think about the characteristics of people that attract you and those you enjoy spending time with. Then, emulate these traits. People are much more apt to want to engage in a conversation when you give off friendly vibes (smile, make eye contact, ask people questions about themselves, speak positively, compliment them). Challenge yourself, make the first move and most importantly leave people feeling better about themselves because of your interaction. This becomes easier with practice and you’ll feel empowered stepping out of your comfort zone!



Join Groups/Classes that meet regularly


Studies showwe are likely to form friendships with people we see on a regular basis. Joining a group or class that meets on a structured day and time (that is interactive) is a great starting point for sewing the seeds of friendships. It adds another important element to forging friendships, which is being exposed to people with shared interests and passions. Think about activities you enjoy or have always wanted to try, and then research where you can connect with others in your area. Some places you can look into are local Meet-ups (, gyms, volunteer organizations and continuing education classes.



Cultivate Self-Compassion


Self-Compassion is treating ourselves with the same non-judgmental understanding we extend to those we love most. It’s being our own best friend and acknowledging that we are all connected! This is key to friendship building, since it has been shown to boost feelings of positivity, increase self-worth and perceived life satisfaction. With these elements present we are naturally more joyful, recognize the best in others and engage in healthier more enjoyable relationships.



Allow for Self-Disclosure


Self- disclosure in friendships is the ability to have a meaningful conversation on a topic that goes beyond everyday surface talk. Progressing from acquaintance to friendship is often expressed by allowing people in to the deeper waters of our lives and them responding in the same way. I can remember when I knew Rochelle was someone I could see myself becoming close to. One afternoon she came to pick her daughter up from my house and she said, “I feel like the worst mother in the world and my girls are ass_h___s!” That was it. She had me at the pure courage of being truthful about a topic most moms put up a front with. Not everyone you feel comfortable enough to extend personal truths with, will become lasting friends; but with self-disclosure and reciprocity you are creating the potential for super-sized bonds.



Embrace Interdependence


Healthy interdependent friendships are a gift from the universe. It is when both parties understand the strengths and weaknesses of the other and embrace each other’s humanness. It’s about an equal amount of give and take. It implies being ok expressing vulnerability and relying on someone other than you once in a while. It also implies that both have developed enough self-awareness and emotional stability to not be draining the life out of the other or always taking. If you feel like you’re possibly too self-reliant to have developed this type of friendship, begin by pinpointing the root of this. What fears are holding you back from being more vulnerable? What beliefs or thoughts could you shift to become a better friend and allow potential friends to truly see how wonderful you are?



Elizabeth Gilbert author or Eat, Pray, Love and a woman that never ceases to inspire me, once wrote To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow- this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.”


Happiness 101- A Happier Life Now

Awakening to the science of well being and some easy steps to kick start your experience of happiness immediately.

What do huge organizations like Google, FedEx, Harvard University and the American Army have in common? They have all acknowledged the benefits of promoting happiness in their institutions and use Positive Psychology (the study of well being) techniques to bring out the best in their communities.  Advocates of this relatively new science explain that all of us can learn these proven methods to awaken self-confidence and pleasure in our lives. Below are four ways you too can begin your journey to a healthier and happier life.

Unconditional Acceptance

Giving our selves the permission to be human and experiencing all of our emotions including fear, anger and dis-appointment is what Tal Ben-Shahar co-founder of Wholebeing Institute explains as the basis for human happiness. Often times we try to push negative emotions away. Unfortunately this is as useful as asking someone not to think of the pink polar bear in the living room. The more we avoid uncomfortable emotions the more present and the stronger they become. That is how the human brain is wired. Recognizing, then accepting them (not wishing they would go away) is what allows them to pass through us and eventually subside. Unconditional acceptance of ourselves not only gives us permission to be more human it opens our hearts to a fuller range of happy emotions.

Do Less Do Better

It’s important to ask ourselves if we are investing in the activities that will give us the highest return on our time and energy. Most of our days are stretched so thin that feelings of over-whelm and burnout has become the norm. This results in depression at worst and a loss of enjoyment with life at best. If we learn to take time for recovery between activities we will become more focused and productive on the next project. Make time to think about what matters most and explore all options before deciding on a project. Understand that it’s impossible to do everything and trade-offs are unavoidable. Quantity in life effects quality and quality effects happiness.

Make your Move

If you’re feeling un-enthusiastic about life and cant wait for the day to be over, start moving your body! There are hundreds of studies proving the correlation between physical activity and a greater sense of well-being. Among many other life changing benefits, regular exercise reduces stress, depression, improves peak performance and even sets the foundation for a happy sex life. It has also been shown that women who exercise thirty min’s per day/four days a week are 30{2aa3a04f6be2f923df0575bbe556bf071a31657c2ccac3245c743dc0f72a11ff} less likely to develop cognitive decline. It is not necessary to be training for a 5K nor does it take months to feel results. The mood changing effects of exercise are same day, according to the American Psychological Association’s journal Health Psychology. Exercising just a little bit more than we’re used to releases those feel great neurotransmitters called endorphins. For more on the connection between physical activity and its benefits, see Spark by John Ratey, MD.

Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness and mindfulness mediation increases happiness and decreases stress. It is intentionally becoming aware of the present moment as it is unfolding- free of judgment. The idea is to dis-engage our minds from it’s automatic thought patterns “doing mode” by utilizing all of our senses so we can enter a more peaceful state known as the “being mode.” We can practice mindfulness while participating in everyday activities like driving to work, speaking with friends or chopping onions. When taking a shower for example listen to the soothing sound of the water, look at the soft lather forming on your hands, pay attention to how that feels on your fingers, smell the scent of your favorite lavender shampoo and savor the warmth of the water hugging your back. Consistent daily practice of mindfulness meditation will nurture inner calmness and non-reactivity of the mind. This will promote a deeper experience with ourselves and those we share our lives with. For additional information on mindfulness and mindfulness meditation, see Mindfulness for Beginners by John Kabat-Zinn or The Art of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Positive Psychology practices like the four described above has made it possible for everyday people to understand and have access to scientifically proven techniques that enhance and promote a happier life. Accepting all of our human emotions, identifying what’s most essential, engaging in physical activity and practicing mindfulness are some of the significant catalysts that will set you on your path to sustainable smiles.

4 Powerful Principles of Intimacy Women Need to Know

We’ve all been there, romantically disappointed, wanting to find a committed partner to share our lives with or desiring more connection from an existing relationship. There’s no doubt intimate relationships can sometimes feel like we’re navigating through a carnival maze with blindfolds on. The good news is, whether we are single, dating or married there are guiding principles we can follow to jump-start our feminine energies and have men desiring genuine connection and closeness.


Below are several game changing intimacy truths that can transform your relationship today.


  1. Be Intentional with Your Energy– All women radiate a unique personal energy, which either draws men towards them or causes them to run for the hills. The essence of the energy we extend, which is formulated by our thoughts, will determine the types of relationships and opportunities we attract. The behaviors, thoughts and vibrations of people closest to us are mirrors of our own. Openhearted frequencies will pull towards us openhearted people. Albert Einstein once said, “Everything is energy. Match your frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. This is not philosophy, its physics.” The more intention we put in to guiding our thoughts to identify what’s perfect about imperfect situations, the lighter and more attractive our essence. What do we do in the presence of a man who emits an aura of tension or anger? Exactly. Men are no different, they desire being in the presence of women that give off positive light-hearted energy.


  1. Identify Shared Values– One of the cornerstones of a happy intimate relationship is shared values. Values are what are most important to us. They drive us forward and we identify with them in a positive way. When we share our lives with a partner that has similar values we feel in sync, for values are a critical part of who we are at our hearts’ center. For single women, taking the time to recognize our own values will save us from investing too much time with Mr. Maybe’s. If we know tranquility is high on your values list and a potential partner thrives on big rollercoaster emotions, this could be a good indicator to evaluate long haul compatibility. Women in committed relationships will also benefit from pinpointing personal values as well as those of their significant other. Acknowledging that our partner’s actions stem from a different set of values than our own, makes it much easier to understand their point of view and resolve conflicts.


  1. Get Off the Bad Boy Train– Most often women gravitate towards emotionally unavailable men when they’ve experienced some form of rejection or abandonment as children from one or both of their primary care givers. As adults these women often seek out these familiar painful childhood emotions in their intimate partners. According to Dr. Harville Hendrix best selling author and co-creator of Imago Relationships International “we look for someone with the same deficits of care and attention that hurt us in the first place.” A preliminary step to breaking this cycle is acknowledging we are not predestined for these types of relationships. An effective option for stepping off the bad boy train is investing in our personal development and self-love. This can be achieved through self-healing books, joining spiritual groups, practicing mindfulness meditation, working with a certified life coach or cognitive behavior therapist. Taking consistent steps to shift paradigms that are no longer serving us can become our biggest point of power. For more in depth information on this subject read Keeping The Love You Find by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D or visit Dr. Margaret Paul’s website com


  1. Respect Him– Extending respect to the men we love is essential to establishing and growing intimacy. According to Laura Doyle relationship expert, the #1 thing men want is respect. She believes that for men respect has greater value than even sex. This means honoring his decisions even if we do not agree with them. It can also be expressed by accepting their personal “man” time, having consideration for their work, family and interest in their ideas. It is natural for us to want to express disapproval when we feel he is doing something wrong, but this quickly turns us in to nagging mother figures which is everything but sexy. It comes as second nature for most men to desire feeling like the king of their jungle. They want to protect and provide for their women. In order for men to naturally engage in their basic instinct, we in our beautiful feminine spirit should feel encouraged to treat them like capable human beings. When we express our confidence and expect the best from them, often times they will present us with just that.